Latency, is it determind by the hardware or software?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by dabmeister music, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    I know the hardware has some sort of governing factor in this senario. Does the software play any part in this? :confused:
  2. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Member

    Yes, the software needs to make optimum use of all available resources (both sound card and computer system) to achieve best possible latency. The best hardware is useless without well written drivers.

    The latency is determined basically by the audio buffer sizes (there's two of them, one being worked off while the other one is being filled again - once used up they trade places). The bigger the buffer the higher the latency and also the better the stability. With small buffers the hardware needs to be able to very quickly fill the buffer once it empties. With bigger buffers the system has a lot more time to come around and fill the buffer again while it is doing other stuff in the meantime. If this re-fill process is not perfectly smooth the audio will break up.

  3. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    What Mister Blue said plus any A/D and D/A converter will add about 2ms each add about 4ms total to the round trip through the card.

    Opus :D
  4. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    Latency is hairy because there are a bunch of ways to deal.

    For example I us Aardvark Q10's and Sonar in a fairly decked out AMD system. I have zero* latency...

    OK before everyone goes crazy, I have zero latency (maybe that's 2ms really) because I do not use sonar or the cpu for monitoring.

    All monitoring of what I am currently recording (like doing a vocal track) goes into the Q10 and right back out of it into my headphone amp where it is mixed with the music coming from Sonar.

    Some people do not like this because it means (for most intents and purposes) that what you are tracking at that time will come through the headphones dry.

    Well, I have trouble singing in tune so dry is good for me because nothing is hidden.

    Now, if what I say sounds like a pile of crap, then I would defer to the other posters who shared information that seems right in line with what I experienced before making my change over.

  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member


    Indeed, zero latency monitoring is a term as there truly is no "zero" latency in the digital realm.

    It is a fact that all A/D and D/A hardware has a close 4ms round trip latency time. 2ms each way!

    A human can start to discern latency at around 10-11ms or so..ok maybe around 9-10 on some situations like vocals.

    Keyboards(via Midi) and other instruments not so much.

    Because the Q10 has the moxing within the software you can get by with the monitoring being very minimal.

    There are some audio cards, like RME and Lynx in which can get down to the a very very low latency setting without comprimising the systems's CPU usage while using fx within the program!

  6. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    point well taken,

    Perhaps you could help me with another question. I have the two Q10's at the studio. At home I would like a simple sound card that would allow me to either run a mic or a bass di into it.

    What is out there that would allow me to plug in a mic (either direct or through something like the Studio projects $100 mic pre) or an instrument directly into it for overdubs?

    I dumped loads on the studio stuff so I could have 16 simultanous ins. I want to get by on the cheap with one in at home.

    What would you suggest, and what should it cost?

    If it helps, I run Sonar.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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